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    Bipolar mitotic spindles play a critical part in accurate chromosome segregation. During late mitosis, spindle microtubules undergo drastic elongation in a process called anaphase B. Two kinesin motors, Kinesin-5 and Kinesin-6, are thought to generate outward forces to drive spindle elongation, and the microtubule crosslinker Ase1/PRC1 maintains structural integrity of antiparallel microtubules. However, how these three proteins orchestrate this process remains unknown. Here we explore the functional interplay among fission yeast Kinesin-5/Cut7, Kinesin-6/Klp9 and Ase1. Using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, we show that Klp9 forms homotetramers and that Klp9 is a processive plus end-directed motor. klp9Δase1Δ is synthetically lethal. Surprisingly, this lethality is not ascribable to the defective motor activity of Klp9; instead, it is dependent upon a nuclear localisation signal and coiled coil domains within the non-motor region. We isolated a cut7 mutant (cut7-122) that displays temperature sensitivity only in the absence of Klp9. Interestingly, cut7-122 alone is impaired in spindle elongation during anaphase B, and furthermore, cut7-122klp9Δ double mutants exhibit additive defects. We propose that Klp9 plays dual roles during anaphase B; one is motor-dependent that collaborates with Cut7 in force generation, while the other is motor-independent that ensures structural integrity of spindle microtubules together with Ase1.


    Masashi Yukawa, Masaki Okazaki, Yasuhiro Teratani, Ken'ya Furuta, Takashi Toda. Kinesin-6 Klp9 plays motor-dependent and -independent roles in collaboration with Kinesin-5 Cut7 and the microtubule crosslinker Ase1 in fission yeast. Scientific reports. 2019 May 14;9(1):7336

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    PMID: 31089172

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